Today was another incredible busy day in the even busier city of Jerusalem. We visited so many sights that I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to remember them all, so I better put them down here before I forget.
The day started early with breakfast at 6:30 am – about the same time you in the States were going to sleep.
Our first stop of the day was at Temple Mount. Temple Mount is one of the holiest places for Muslims. It’s a place with two large masques and every Friday, thousands of Jews gather to worship and pray. I was a little apprehensive of the visit at first, but it went smoothly and showed me tolerance and understanding – two traits that I think are extremely lacking in today’s culture. I might not agree with what those people believe, but I can respect their beliefs and be respectful while in their place of worship.
After Temple Mount, we headed only a couple of yards over to the pool of Bethesda. This was the pool where Jesus healed a man who made been trying to experience the healing powers of the pool for over thirty years.
The pool was neat, but the church we visited next created a memory I’ll never forget. We entered the Church of St. Anne and by request of the priest and due to the astounding acoustics, began to sing. We sang “Magnificat,” and it was the most beautiful singing I had ever heard. The voices echoed of the walls of the centuries old church and created an angelic melody. I’ve uploaded a video to my Facebook page if you’d like to watch; I strongly encourage that you do!
We made our way across town to the City of David, where we found ourselves far underground in Hezekiah’s tunnel. This tunnel created a small waterway under the city that was used to transport water. The tunnel, about a mile long, is still filled with water today. And guess what, we walked the entire length of the tunnel… in the water, in the dark, with no flashlights. It was extremely unnerving at first, but once I realized it was literally impossible to get lost and once our group started singing, my nerves eased and it ended up being one of the most exciting experiences of my life. The water was up to my waist at points and the tunnel got as narrow as the width of my shoulders, with the ceiling coming down to about 4 feet at certain points. It was insanity. I’d walk through again, right now. But I wouldn’t recommend it for claustrophobics.
The Museum of Israel marked our next stop. The museum was filled with biblical and historical artifacts. I’m not much of a museum person, but this was still pretty cool.
It was finally time for lunch; I was so hungry! We had lunch in the garden area of the Jerusalem Prayer Center. The JPC is a Southern Baptist sponsored organization that serves as a place of prayer for all people, no matter what religion or ethnicity. The couple, who were from Louisiana, that ran the place were so welcoming and it was nice to hear someone else say, “y’all.” We couldn’t leave the beautiful gardens and building without a time of prayer, which proved to be one of the most rejuvenating and spiritual experiences of this trip. I spent several minutes in prayer, talking to God about all the thoughts that have been crowding my mind. The time in the JPC was much needed, and I’m so thankful for ministries like this that work to unite and heal the nations.
After the JPC, our tour guide, Yossi, led us to the Garden Tomb. The Garden Tomb was similar to botanical gardens in its looks, so it was absolutely beautiful. The Garden Tomb is a possible place of Jesus’s tomb. This was so neat to see a place that could have possible been Jesus’s tomb.
Our last stop of the day was a nice, peaceful 40-minute drive to Herodium. Heroidum is artificially made mountain that King Herod had made; the ruins of his temple rest at the top. After walking around the ruins and taking plenty of pictures of the panoramic views, we headed into the earth in a secret tunnel that Herod had made in case he needed to escape the mountain. It was simply incredible to be in such a monumental and ancient area.
We are now back at the hotel where I took a quick dip in the pool. I’m heading to dinner in a bit, then straight to bed. We have another full day tomorrow, and I want to get as much rest as possible.
Your prayers are appreciated more than you know.
Until next time, keep smiling.